As Habakkuk surveyed the raging international scene and the wickedness, misery and injustice that was infiltrating the kingdom of Judah, he was deeply concerned about the spiritual decline of God’s people.. and pleaded to God for help. But God’s apparent indifference confused this prophet, as he witnessed the arrogant assault and evil acts of their enemies.. and the helplessness of his own people.
Habakkuk was bewildered that God did not act on behalf of His errant yet exploited people, for the Assyrian enemy who was assaulting them was cruel to the extreme. This great watchman on the wall was a sincere intercessor for Israel, but he records that: it was too painful for him, until he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” (Hab 2:1)
In prayer this morning, I thanked the Lord for revealing new insights to me from His Word, and thanked Him for His great wisdom in waiting to reveal it to me until I was ready to take it into my heart. Until I realized how spiritually bankrupt I am, mourned over my sin and surrendered to His will, He knew that I wasn’t ready for deeper revelations from His Word. “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Is 55:11)
When the prophet Habakkuk waited to hear from the Lord, he discovered that God was not indifferent to the suffering of His people, but came to understand that the Lord had appointed a glorious time when He would save His people from their sins, rescue them from their enemies and wipe away every tear from their eyes. “Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” (Hab 2:2-3)
In Habakkuk’s day things were to get worse before they got better, and he was called to live by his faith – to trust the Lord Who is faithful to rescue His people and true to His Word. And that same principle is true for Christians today. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). Mercy may seem slow, but it is certain. The Sovereign Lord, in unfailing wisdom, has appointed a time to send His gracious power, and God’s time is the best time. “wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry”.
God is faithful to carry out His plans and purposes at His appointed time and to finish the good work He has started in the lives of all His children. In this world we will have tribulation and trials and the Christian life is not a bed of roses, as is so often taught today – but we are to be of good cheer, for Christ has overcome this world and has gone to prepare a place for us. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The future vision that was given to Habakkuk has been increasingly revealed to us through Scripture. The vision of Israel’s rescue and reconciliation is set at God’s appointed time. The Lord is true to His Word and although it is to tarry, the nation is to wait for it, for it will surely come and will not tarry.
God has not only set an appointed time to complete His work through Israel, He also has His set time to fulfill His specific plans through the Church. And though as Christians we are living through a season of wickedness, misery and injustice, where the most evil acts of the enemy are being perpetrated against believers, we should never forget “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). God desires that all men are saved and that His born-again children mature in the faith, grow in grace, look to Jesus, and in the power the Holy Spirit, are being conformed day by day into the image and likeness of Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the many precious promises You have made to Your people Israel and to those in the Body of Christ, knowing that what You have started You will surely complete to Your praise and glory. Give us the grace to be lovingly long-suffering as we await Your appointed times. May we live where You have placed us in wisdom, following Your statutes, so that Your light shines through us in this dark world as we await for the fulfillment of Your plans and purposes in our individual lives and in the wider Body of Christ, In the precious name of Jesus, we pray, amen.